U.S. Open commentary | Palmetto's Sam Osborne has shot at big payday

jdill@bradenton.comJune 14, 2012 

Englishman Sam Osborne is a long shot this week to win the 112th U.S. Open.

According to several oddsmakers, he's listed as 1,000 to 1 to lift the coveted U.S. Open trophy.

And while Osborne most likely won't walk away with a major title when daylight fades on Father's Day, he still has that chance.

Because that's the beauty of the U.S. Open.

Anybody who qualifies can play.

Osborne showcased that ability when he got past the local and sectional qualifiers to book his place at Olympic Club in San Francisco, the host venue for this year's national championship.

The 30-year-old Osborne has all the skills the top players in the world possess.

What has troubled him in the past is the most important asset for professional golfers: the mental game. It's what separates the elite from the everyday.

"If I look back at all the times when it was a turning point or something had gone different, and mentally you can be really good mentally, then it

makes a huge difference," Osborne said. "I think at times I have been, but a lot of times I've let myself down. And it's not because my technical skills or anything else was missing. It's that mentally, in some way, I beat myself. And if that had been different, I think I would probably be playing on one of the tours at the moment rather than knocking it around the mini-tours and things like that. You can agree or disagree with that, but certainly mentally is one of the biggest areas where I have let myself down."

Osborne began this year like most mini-tour golfers, trying to figure out how to make his finances last.

He said last week prior to departing for California that he has that situation sorted out, and he plans on playing more competitive golf tournaments this summer after not playing as much leading into the qualifiers.

However, one magical week can erase all doubt.

Last year, the U.S. Open's purse was $7.5 million and the least amount of money made by someone making the cut was more than $16,000.

This year's purse is reportedly $8 million, and the money allocation will be determined after it's known how many amateurs, who cannot receive monetary compensation, make the 36-hole cut.

So, Osborne can earn a nice payday even if he doesn't win the golf tournament.

This year's picks

To use the golf equivalent of pleading the fifth, yours truly isn't officially choosing any player to win this year's Open.

Why?

Because a first-time major winner has claimed the last eight. In fact, the past 14 major championships have seen a different winner.

Sorry, Bubba Watson, that means you're out of contention.

Same goes for defending champion Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson. Well, until Mickelson can bury his U.S. Open demons and complete a full 72 holes, then he's destined never to win this coveted major.

Watson's power isn't the key to unlocking the difficult United States Golf Association test.

Accuracy and short game are the keys.

Luke Donald is eighth on the PGA Tour's driving accuracy list. He's also ranked No. 1 in scrambling.

If I needed a third reason, he's ranked No. 1 in the world.

Yeah, I'll go with him.

Jason Dill, sports reporter, can be reached at 745-7017 or via email at jdill@bradenton.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jason_Dill.

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